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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
Rare person. A term originally referring to a visitor. Orikuchi Shinobu defined marebito as spiritual entities that periodically visit village communities from the other world — the "everlasting world" (tokoyo) across the sea — to bring their residents happiness and good fortune. Orikuchi traced the prototype of the marebito to ancestral spirits (sorei). Despite the dread and disdain of community residents for the marebito, their belief that the marebito bring blessings led to the development of customs for and notions of welcoming the marebito. Orikuchi theorized that the belief in the marebito forms the basis of folk religion in Japan. Examples of marebito as masked and costumed deities that bring blessings to people include the Namahage of Akita Prefecture as well as the Akamata/Kuromata and Mayuganashi in Yaeyama, Okinawa Prefecture.

— Iwai Hiroshi
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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